How to disguise hotel type AC/heat units

Mary Howard
by Mary Howard
My mom has just moved into assisted living. She has two west-facing windows with hotel style AC/Heat units. How can we turn this hot wasted space into usable square footage in her new space?
Window drapes yet. West windows in Texas are HoT!
Her bedroom. We've moved the dresser from the left. A window is on that side with an AC/Heat unit.
Living room...another west window.
  11 answers
  • Rus1058682 Rus1058682 on Aug 05, 2015
    That would depend on the 'rules' of the management, but I would suggest a 1x 8 or 1x 10 surround. (like a box) but can't close it up because of air return\vents..
    • Rus1058682 Rus1058682 on Aug 08, 2015
      @Ruslzplace As an added note, you could use some sort of screening across the front to hide the unit and still allow proper air flow.. Then I saw there was a cat involved. screening is one of the favorite things for a cat to climb, so I don't know if that would work.. Lol
  • LD LD on Aug 05, 2015
    As Ruslzplace said, you will need to check ask management what changes you are allowed to make to th e room. The top and from of unit will need to have vents and/or metal screening in order for the unit to operate properly. You could have a decorative radiator cover made with some storage shelves on either side, and depending on how wide you make the unit, there could be some top shelf space. Below are some images of radiator covers.
    • Mary Howard Mary Howard on Aug 07, 2015
      @LD Nice ideas! Thanks for the link. I'd considered a radiator cover of some sort. Her cat would like it, too, I think!
  • Carri Reed Carri Reed on Aug 05, 2015
    I would make a window seat/bench that had ventilation slits or holes. They can be made to just rest against the wall, instead of attached to it, making it very easy to move but still a sturdy functional piece of furniture. I own a wood shop and could make you a custom piece for a very good price or higher end if that is what you prefer. My email is if you are interested.
  • Gaylene Lienemann Stupic Gaylene Lienemann Stupic on Aug 06, 2015
    Could you modify a fireplace screen (it would have to be really, really long)? If it's metal, the screen could then double as a place to magnetically display all those photos of grands and great-grands!
  • Sandra Sandra on Aug 06, 2015
    You could buy perforated sheet metal, make a frame with, say 2" or 3" x 1 inch stripes..I wish I could draw it. So you have a frame that fits the front of the AC. Make it about two inches longer. Nail or glue side frames on both sides or use a board about 1" x 6" on both ends. Before you glue the frames into an elongated my"U" shape, paint the wood and tack the perforated sheet metal to it from the inside. Then glue or male the sides onto the front piece. I would make an open frame on the sides like in the front and have the perforated sheet metal on the sides, but that would be my taste. I think it would be very nice looking for the heat and AC unite. My brother has one in his apartment too. If you want a cover just add a 1" board to fit the top of the screen. I think it would look nice and your mom could move it easily enough when she has to get into to change temperature. I don't think it would be very heavy. Anyway, just a thought. You could but rollers on the bottom of the frame, making it very easy to move for your mom.
  • Etoile Aloha Etoile Aloha on Aug 06, 2015
    Perhaps a 3 panel screen with decorated sheet metal, it looks like perforated I found it on amazon and someone made a screen with it, it looks lovely and the cool air will still flow through here is the link
  • Mary Howard Mary Howard on Aug 07, 2015
    Thanks for the all the ideas! I'd considered various screens/radiator cover type things. She doesn't actually have to adjust the thermostat from there, but maintenance does have to change filters. I'll check out your links. I do woodworking and have a complete shop, so making one is not out of my ability level. Thanks again!
  • Julies1949 Julies1949 on Aug 08, 2015
    I would find a ready made furniture piece- a media center, etc,that will fit over the A/C units, something at a reasonable price so you can get two of them, cut out the front and replace it with a mesh or screening. You can get all sorts of screening or metal mesh at the big box stores. You will have to cut out the back so you can slide the unit over the A/C. That will give her two pieces that will function as shelves to display her treasures or stack books or magazines.
  • D fuhrman D fuhrman on Aug 13, 2015
    did you check with other residents to see what they did? they may have a solution that your mom would like.
  • Gino Lewis Gino Lewis on Aug 13, 2015
    3 sided box with a small cut out running length wise- to allow heat & ac to escape & a hinged top. Hide it & make it functional as a display spot.
  • Gino Lewis Gino Lewis on Aug 15, 2015
    Or like a radiator cover, with a decorative grill on front still with wooden sides. & top. Make it sturdy enough & can be used as a window seat.